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  • Define common forms of government, such as monarchy, oligarchy, dictatorship, and democracy
  • Compare common forms of government and identify real-life examples of each
A mosaic of Saddam Hussein and other tile decorations are shown on a wall.
Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein used fear and intimidation to keep citizens in check. (Photo courtesy of Brian Hillegas/flickr)

Most people generally agree that anarchy    , or the absence of organized government, does not facilitate a desirable living environment for society, but it is much harder for individuals to agree upon the particulars of how a population should be governed. Throughout history, various forms of government have evolved to suit the needs of changing populations and mindsets, each with pros and cons. Today, members of Western society hold that democracy is the most just and stable form of government, although former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once declared to the House of Commons, “Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time” (Shapiro 2006).

Monarchy

Even though people in the United States tend to be most aware of Great Britain’s royals, many other nations also recognize kings, queens, princes, princesses, and other figures with official royal titles. The power held by these positions varies from one country to another. Strictly speaking, a monarchy    is a government in which a single person (a monarch) rules until he or she dies or abdicates the throne. Usually, a monarch claims the rights to the title by way of hereditary succession or as a result of some sort of divine appointment or calling. As mentioned above, the monarchies of most modern nations are ceremonial remnants of tradition, and individuals who hold titles in such sovereignties are often aristocratic figureheads.

A few nations today, however, are run by governments wherein a monarch has absolute or unmitigated power. Such nations are called absolute monarchies    . Although governments and regimes are constantly changing across the global landscape, it is generally safe to say that most modern absolute monarchies are concentrated in the Middle East and Africa. The small, oil-rich nation of Oman, for instance, is an example of an absolute monarchy. In this nation, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said has ruled since the 1970s. Recently, living conditions and opportunities for Oman’s citizens have improved, but many citizens who live under the reign of an absolute ruler must contend with oppressive or unfair policies that are installed based on the unchecked whims or political agendas of that leader.

In today’s global political climate, monarchies far more often take the form of constitutional monarchies    , governments of nations that recognize monarchs but require these figures to abide by the laws of a greater constitution. Many countries that are now constitutional monarchies evolved from governments that were once considered absolute monarchies. In most cases, constitutional monarchies, such as Great Britain and Canada, feature elected prime ministers whose leadership role is far more involved and significant than that of its titled monarchs. In spite of their limited authority, monarchs endure in such governments because people enjoy their ceremonial significance and the pageantry of their rites.

Questions & Answers

what is culture
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Mahatab
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Mahatab
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Vikram Reply
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Emmy Reply
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muhammads
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Emmy
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mudakikwa
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Emmy
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Emmy
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Agness Reply
how did the industrial revolution contribute to the raise or birth of sociology
Debra
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Mr Reply
social organization is the process in which group or organise people engage in one event or aspect to do or provide something
Umar
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sociology is the way in which study the society, behavior, value, norms and cultural interaction
Umar Reply
Discuss in details the Historical events which lead to the introduction of Sociology as a science.
Jonathan
The term sociology was coined by French philosopher Auguste Comte in 1838, who for this reason is known as the “Father of Sociology.” Comte felt that science could he used to study the social world. Just as there are testable facts regarding gravity and other natural laws
Umar
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Debra
Comte thought that scientific analyses could also discover the laws governing our social lives. It was in this context that Comte introduced the concept of positivism to sociology a way to understand the social world based on scientific facts. He believed that, with this new understanding, people
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Debra
Other events of that time period also influenced the development of sociology. The 19th and 20th centuries were times of many social upheavals and changes in the social order that interested the early sociologists. The political revolutions sweeping Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries
Umar
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Emmy
What historical events lead to the introduction of sociology as a science?
Jonathan Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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